Does this sound familiar? It is still dark out when the alarm clock goes off and its 41 degrees outside so all efforts are made to snuggle deeper into that cozy comforter. Thoughts of getting up to work out flood the mind, but by the time the feet creep to the floor it’s time to get up and start the day. Throughout the morning many other attempts are made to psych the mind into squeezing a workout in during lunchtime with no results. Finally a decision is made that evening time will be better; there still time left in the day to get other things done. Evening comes, it is dark earlier and it feels even colder than when the alarm went off! Every excuse has been not to work out and it’s off to bed feeling guilty, grouchy, and bloated!
Just because it’s cold outside does not mean the body must hibernate and skip workouts. During the winter months it is easy to fall prey to dormancy; the cold and dark weather can easily set a mental tone to curl up and read than go out and exercise. It’s easy to feel up beat and energized during the warmer part of the year; the sun is shining, there is more daylight and the weather elements are warm and more forgiving. For outdoor exercisers this transition into winter can be even more brutal.
Like many obstacles in life, getting motivated and staying focused is mainly mental. Training your brain to think positively and see the benefits are important in getting started and sticking with it. Here are some simple steps to get you started and keep you going:
- Know that it is going to get dark earlier and cold. Get the mind ready for known factors.
- Set winter workout goals; try using S.M.A.R.T. goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.
- Working out outside? Prepare to dress accordingly and warm up inside. Dynamic stretching is a great way to get blood and oxygen flowing. It also prepares the body for sports activity.
- Workout with a buddy. Teaming up with others can help boast and keep motivation.
- Think about the rewards exercise provides. Working out helps to relieve stress, decrease blood pressure, decrease cholesterol, increases energy levels, increases metabolism, and keeps the body in shape by strengthening bones and building muscle.
- Take workouts inside. Find alternatives to get in exercise in and for gym members, be open to trying different kinds of workouts.
- Practice positive self-talk. Everyone slips and has “lazy” days. Allow the body to rest and enjoy cozy days, but prepare to start back fresh the next day. Try it get in at least three days of exercise a week.
Remember, no matter how slow a person is moving they are still lapping everyone else on the couch!
Tara, ACC, CPC, CNWC